Herb: Yerba Mansa

Latin name: Anemopsis californica

Synonyms: Houttuynia californica

Family: Saururaceae (Lizard's-tail Family)

Medicinal use of Yerba Mansa:

Yerba mansa was widely employed by the native North American Indians to treat a wide variety of complaints. It is little used in modern herbalism. The whole plant is analgesic, antiperiodic, antiphlogistic, blood purifier, disinfectant, diuretic, laxative, stomachic and vulnerary. The plant is infused and used to bathe aching muscles and sore feet. The root is chewed for affections of the mucous membranes. A tea made from the root is used as a blood purifier and general pain remedy, and as a treatment for pleurisy, gonorrhoea, syphilis and menstrual cramps. An infusion of the plant is used in the treatment of colds, chest congestion and stomach ulcers. The dried and powdered plant is used as a disinfectant on wounds whilst the fresh moist leaves are used as a poultice or salve on burns, cuts and wounds. An infusion of the bark is used as a wash for open sores.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Wet, especially somewhat alkaline or saline marshy places, below 2000 metres.

Edible parts of Yerba Mansa:

Root - raw or cooked. An aromatic flavour. The pulverized seeds are made into bread or cooked as a mush. The peppery aromatic root is astringent and is chewed raw for medicinal purposes.

Other uses of the herb:

Beads can be made from the rootstock.

Propagation of Yerba Mansa:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the summer. Stand the pots in about 3cm of water and germination should take place in about 5 weeks. Sow stored seed in a cold frame in the spring. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. making sure you keep the compost wet. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Wet, especially somewhat alkaline or saline marshy places, below 2000 metres.

Known hazards of Anemopsis californica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.